Christmas Day has become the NBA's day to showcase its top stars and teams. Each year, they save the juiciest matchups for the holiday with the hope to draw ratings worth bragging about with no other sports television competition. This year's Christmas matchups followed the same pattern the league's overall ratings have so far this year: Down.
Year-over-year the day was down double digits with a 10 percent decline. And, more importantly, the much-hyped matchup between the Lakers and Clippers (8.8 million) was down 14 percent was last year's equivalent Lakers-Warriors game (10.21).
As I've pointed out several times, the media runs in support of the NBA when the proof isn't on its side. This year, the Lakers' loss is being deemed as the "second-most-watched Christmas primetime game ever." However, as I said on Twitter, that is nothing but a spin-job hoping further context isn't provided. Of course, it was the second-highest as the NBA didn't start putting its marquee game, with its top star, in primetime on Christmas until last year. Such as the NBA putting James and the Lakers up against the second-most intriguing team (Warriors last year, Clippers this year). The top matchups each year before -- mostly featuring James or Kobe Bryant -- came earlier in the day.
As documented by Sports Media Watch, many of those drew over 10 million viewers.
The primetime slot was previously used for teams that were much lesser draws: Spurs, Rockets, Thunder, and Timberwolves.
Last month, I documented several reasons why the league's ratings are down across the board, with the regular season becoming meaningless and the stars resting as two of the primary reasons.
It isn't going away, either. Yesterday, on the NBA's day, more ugly and alarming proof became available.